Apple iPad 2 online sales will start in wee hours

Looking to buy an iPad 2 from Apple online tomorrow? Better set that alarm clock. Apple says it's opening up for sales at 1 a.m. Pacific. GarageBand and iMovie for iPad 2 also get an early arrival.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

If you're in the market to buy an iPad 2 online tomorrow, you're going to have to wake up a bit early.

Apple this morning announced that online sales of the iPad 2 will begin at 1 a.m. PT/4 a.m. ET, many hours ahead of when the new tablet goes on sale at the company's retail stores.

The company had previously told customers that online sales would begin the same day as the iPad 2's retail release, but had not provided the start time.

Retail availability of the iPad 2 remains unchanged, with Apple beginning sales at 5 p.m. local time at its 236 retail stores as well as at partner retailers like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, and carrier stores for Verizon Wireless and AT&T, the company said in its release.

Along with the start time, Apple also announced early arrivals of the GarageBand and iMovie iPad apps that the company demonstrated during the iPad 2's unveiling last week. Available today, these apps had originally been slated to be released tomorrow to coincide with the new iPad hardware, which in iMovie's case is required to be able to run the video-editing software.

The last Apple product to get an early online sale was the Verizon iPhone, which became available for preordering at 3 a.m. ET from Verizon's online stores, selling out just a few hours later.